WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon is stepping away from his duties while the company investigates him for alleged misconduct, the company announced Friday.
The probe centers on claims that McMahon paid hush money to an employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, the Wall Street Journal first reported.
A committee from WWE’s board of directors is looking into the allegations, the WWE said in a statement, noting that McMahon will give up his responsibilities “until the conclusion of the investigation.” In the interim, his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, will serve as the publicly listed entertainment company’s chairwoman and chief executive.
“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the Special Committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation. I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are,” Vince McMahon said in the statement.
The investigation, which began in April, focuses on an alleged $3 million settlement in January 2022 between Mr. McMahon and a now-former employee who worked as a paralegal for the WWE, according to the Wall Street Journal. The agreement prevents the former employee from discussing the relationship or disparaging McMahon.
The board’s probe of the agreement has uncovered other nondisclosure agreements between McMahon and former female employees who accused their boss of misconduct, the Journal reported.
John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations at WWE, is also under investigation.
Family members and executives who report to Vince McMahon sit on the WWE’s 12-person board. Stephanie McMahon and her husband, Paul Levesque, a former professional wrestler who uses the stage name Triple H., are among its members. Vince McMahon controls the majority of shareholders’ voting power.